Cat Tales: Ham, the Klepto Cat

“Have you seen my running shoe?” my neighbor Dana Buhl asked me recently. I hadn’t seen it but my husband and I had noticed some curious items turning up in our yard—some red camellia flowers (we don’t have a camellia bush) and a red ball of yarn. Two weeks later, Dana’s 15-year-old daughter spotted one of their dog’s chew toys in the back of our mutual neighbor’s backyard. Charles Aguilar and his fiancé Brittany Peralta, who moved into that house six months ago, have four beautiful and playful cats. So I texted Charles asking if they might be missing some yarn. He said “No, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my ‘lil white cat got it from somewhere and brought it to your yard. He brought us a crow, a mouse, and a random shoe recently.” Then he texted a photo of Ham, the cute white cat that I’d noticed prowling through our backyard.

Dana was amused to learn that the culprit was a feline (though sadly, she was not reunited with her shoe because, not knowing whose it was, they’d tossed it). I started stashing my running shoes inside. But, unwisely, I left my Crocs out. A few weeks later, I couldn’t find either of them. I searched our house, to no avail. Finally, desperate, I texted Charles. “I’m missing my Crocs. Has Ham brought you any?” He shot back, “Yes, we have a black Croc!” A few days later, I spotted the other in their backyard. I jokingly said he should post something on Nextdoor about his klepto cat. “I’m thinking about it. I have a pair of Nikes here now. Black with a grey swoosh,” Charles typed.  

Charles says Ham’s stealing habit began when he was an indoor cat—with their daughter’s Barbies and sandals. He’d find them hidden in weird places around the house. “I’d do laundry and there’d be a Barbie in the laundry basket,” he says. Ham, who is just one year old, has one blue eye and one yellow, giving him a rock-star air. “He’s got a lot of personality, for sure,” Charles says. But Sunnysiders—especially if you live in the westernmost quadrant of the neighborhood—keep your shoes inside!   

This is a new regularly-occurring column in the Sunnyside Newsletter. To submit stories about your or a neighbor’s cat, email Hannah at [email protected]   Cats must live in Sunnyside. 

Hannah Wallace